Most important living composer.

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Most important living composer.

Which living composer(s) will still be remembered as having made an important and original conrtibution to composed music in, lets say, one hundred years time?

My suggestions would be Helmut Lachenmann and Georg Kurtag.

RE: Most important living composer.

Or I should say Gyorgy Kurtag.

RE: Most important living composer.

While I don't disagree in essence with your suggestions, you have to know that the word "important" goes together with the word "influential". I'm afraid the influence of these two composers you suggested is limited to their microcosmos and not to a wider classical music field.

I'm afraid there are no truly influential figures in the classical realm anymore. The names that may mark the future of music in the next centuries might not belong to any classical genre or medium, stricto sensu. After Shostakovich, some "golden" mediocrities, living in their "cells", produce music for the few who can indulge in their individualism and peculiarities. 

However, never say never again. Somebody might emerge...one day...

Parla

RE: Most important living composer.

Interesting question Arbutus.

Parla is right in saying that there is much fragmentation of the field of modern music: also that contemporary classical music is largely irrelevant to most audiences. But that his been so at least since the second Viennese School: Schoenberg on the one hand, Puccini on the other! Not to mention Strauss and Stravinsky.

From the 'difficult' school surely Boulez has to be a serious candidate, and Harrison Birtwistle. And Elliott Carter is still living!! On the other side what about John Adams and Philip Glass?

Chris

 

 

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Most important living composer.

I wouldn't opt the last two, Chris. Minimalist composers, regardless of their contribution, are of..."minimal" influence or significance for the future of Classical Music.

Boulex is not only "difficult"; he is incomprehensible! Can anyone tell me what's the musical point of a work like "Pli selon pli". As for Birtwistle, though very interesting for the connoisseur and the British, outside UK and the small circle of his followers none know even his name. Elliot Carter is a more promising name, but, still, he is not and cannot be in the same league of composers like Shostakovich, Prokofiev or Britten.

Parla

RE: Most important living composer.

I wouldn't opt the last two, Chris. Minimalist composers, regardless of their contribution, are of..."minimal" influence or significance for the future of Classical Music.

Boulex is not only "difficult"; he is incomprehensible! Can anyone tell me what's the musical point of a work like "Pli selon pli". As for Birtwistle, though very interesting for the connoisseur and the British, outside UK and the small circle of his followers none know even his name. Elliot Carter is a more promising name, but, still, he is not and cannot be in the same league of composers like Shostakovich, Prokofiev or Britten.

Parla

RE: Most important living composer.

Parla, I think what you are saying (and with which I agree) is that there is no middle ground any more - the ground occupied by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Britten.  But what of Stravinsky? Some of his music is hardly less difficult than Webern or Schoenberg.

Is Boulez less comprehensible than Webern or Schoenberg? I guess that many of us enjoy the music of the second Viennese School more than you do Parla.

Is John Adams more trivial than Puccini? Was the latter significant for the future of classical music, or just a 'throwback'?

It does seem though that 'significance' and 'popularity' seem to be drifting further and dangerously apart.

We each have strong responses to these issues I expect, but only time will tell, I suppose. 

Chris

PS: On a sunnier note the Parkanyi Op.54 Haydn Quartets have just arrived. Lovely!

 

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Most important living composer.

I like the way Parla repeated his post, just like Philip Glass endlessly repeats everything. If I happen to hear his music it invariably puts in my mind an image of the daily routine at the Glass factory where scores are printed on long rolls, like wallpaper, and if someone from a film or ballet company rings up to commission a 'new' piece, the assistant asks how long the piece needs to be and then unfurls the appropiate length of paper, cuts it with a guillotine, and sticks it in an envelope.

RE: Most important living composer.

Hi Arbutus!

It's a tricky one, because we don't exactly seem to have any really well-known names anymore. Certainly not 'household' names. I think the era of such names ended in 1975 when Britten and Shostakovitch both died.

Is it someone who is 'popular'? As in Taverner, Part, Glass, Adams et al...

Or someone who is respected? Henze, Penderecki, or in the UK Knussen, Turnage...

It is difficult. Time will maybe tell!

A very interesting question though, and I have thought it myself before!

Regards

Mark

Chris:

I think I am kind of agreeing with your point in what I just said above:

'It does seem though that 'significance' and 'popularity' seem to be drifting further and dangerously apart'.

PS Carter's music is, as the critics note, extremely powerful using traditional means...

Partsong

RE: Most important living composer.

Chris, Stravinsky became a very influential figure thanks to his (truly) great Ballets and some more of his "less difficult" music. On the contrary, he became a very controversial composer on account of his "inexplicably difficult" music.

Boulez makes less sense than the pioneers of the Second School of Vienna. He seems to have been influenced by the three great ones, but he did not properly develop his own language in a very individual and narrow path of composition style and form. That's why his music is rarely performed and with very limited success.

John Adams is definitely (much) more trivial than Puccini. At least, the latter left some glorious, influential whether we like it or not, melodies that seem to be perennial and beloved even by those who hate him (or love to hate him). In any case, in the "house" of Opera, he was a quite influential and extremely popular composer, having left an indelible mark in the development of the genre.

I have to agree that, nowadays, "significance" and "popularity" are drifting far apart, in an ominous way...

Parla

P.S.: The Parkanyi's op. 54 by Haydn is absolutely lovely. Enjoy!

RE: Most important living composer.

c hris johnson wrote:

Parla, I think what you are saying (and with which I agree) is that there is no middle ground any more - the ground occupied by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Britten.

I'm not sure what you mean by "middle ground" but most new works I've heard in the 21st century, a few "modern" gestures apart, could have been written any time in the last hundred years. I almost prefer the prevailing situation 30 or 40 years ago, when any new work performed at a mainstream concert could be guaranteed to set the audience's teeth on edge.

RE: Most important living composer.

Guillaume: "I'm not sure what you mean by "middle ground" but most new works I've heard in the 21st century, a few "modern" gestures apart, could have been written any time in the last hundred years. I almost prefer the prevailing situation 30 or 40 years ago, when any new work performed at a mainstream concert could be guaranteed to set the audience's teeth on edge."

 Interesting comment Guillaume. I suppose the clue is the word 'living'. Most of us have selected older living composers.  I suspect you are thinking of composers active in the 21st century?  Who do you have in mind particularly?  I've started to wonder too whether there is a difference between those composers whose music is heard in the concert hall and those heard primarily in recordings.  So many composers' music appears on CD, and I've never noticed in concerts. Any others share this feeling

Parla: "Stravinsky became a very influential figure thanks to his (truly) great Ballets and some more of his "less difficult" music. On the contrary, he became a very controversial composer on account of his "inexplicably difficult" music."

Exactly so. There seem to be two Stravinskys. But how much his 'difficult' music is regarded by other musicians I'm not sure.    Concerning the music of Boulez, I think we have to agree to differ! However, I was fortunate in being able to hear him conducting his own music many times in London, including Pli selon pli three times. I'm not at all sure I could ever have got into this music from recordings alone. It is obviously not going to be 'popular' but is beginning to be performed and recorded more often: Barenboim is performing several of his works at this year's Proms. Like it or not I have the feeling that his music will survive. It is interesting (to me at least) that both you and Mark find Elliott Carter more rewarding (or less difficult?).  I've always found the opposite, but have had fewer opportunities to hear his music in the concert hall.                                                                                                                     . Perhaps it was unwise of me to bracket John Adams and Philip Glass together.  Adams' music, especially lately is much more than 'minimalism'.                                                                 .So, finally to answer Arbutus's question, my nominations for the most important living composer are Boulez and John Adams!!                                                              .Chris                                                                                                   .PS: The Haydn is really lovely! (no disagreement over that).

 

 

Some problem formatting this text, sorry!

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: Most important living composer.

guillaume wrote:
I almost prefer the prevailing situation 30 or 40 years ago, when any new work performed at a mainstream concert could be guaranteed to set the audience's teeth on edge.

Not engaging the audience is a weakness, not a strenght. Far too many people think that if a work is difficult to understand or unusual that it must therefore be on a higher level. This is absolute rubbish. If an artist cannot connect with mankind then it is the fault of the artist. Classical music after the second world war but especially since the deaths of Shostakovich, Britten, Prokofiev has been hijacked by the pseudo intellectual middle class liberal namby pambies, hiding mediocrity behind complexity is not big and it is not clever.

RE: Most important living composer.

Uber Alice wrote:
Not engaging the audience is a weakness, not a strength. Far too many people think that if a work is difficult to understand or unusual that it must therefore be on a higher level. This is absolute rubbish. If an artist cannot connect with mankind then it is the fault of the artist. Classical music after the second world war but especially since the deaths of Shostakovich, Britten, Prokofiev has been hijacked by the pseudo intellectual middle class liberal namby pambies, hiding mediocrity behind complexity is not big and it is not clever.

In principle I don't disagree with this, save for the class ridddled rant at the end which is just frothing at the mouth...

My issue would be what we mean by 'mankind'? Is that everybody or just part? How much art speaks to 'mankind'? 

 

Naupilus

RE: Most important living composer.

naupilus wrote:

In principle I don't disagree with this, save for the class ridddled rant at the end which is just frothing at the mouth...

My issue would be what we mean by 'mankind'? Is that everybody or just part? How much art speaks to 'mankind'? 

 

By 'Mankind' I mean a significant percentage, the people who can be reached. The others have Tesco lager, dog fighting, wife beating, the x-factor and pop music to keep them happy. And 'frothing at the mouth'. I passed 'frothing at the mouth' months ago, I'm in the laboratory creating monsters now.

RE: Most important living composer.

So, Uber, and others, nominate your candidate!

Or, like in some music competitions, is the first prize not being awarded?

Chris A.Gnostic

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